James 1:2-8. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is a fully developed, you will be a perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we face trials of many kinds. Why? Because we know that the testing of our faith develops endurance. Endurance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1. You can’t be mature without having a spirit of endurance that refuses to quit or give up. This persevering quality is the mark of maturity. Once you have this, you are complete, not lacking anything. Immaturity demands for everything to go well all the time and for no delays!
2. The only thing that produces endurance is the testing of our faith. This occurs through experiences such as delays, contradictions, unanswered prayers and disappointments. Untested faith will not develop this important quality.
3. Therefore, we should so value endurance that we consider it a joy when we go through trials that test our faith. Joy is only possible if we keep the end in mind (Hebrews 12:1-2). It’s a bit like “enjoying” a scary roller coaster ride. The joy comes from knowing how it will end!
4. What we need during these times is “wisdom” – the ability to see and respond to life’s situations from God’s perspective. Thankfully, God offers to gives us plenty of it if we simply ask him. But don’t doubt when you ask.
5. Always pray and ask in faith without allowing doubt to settle in your heart. Doubting people are double-minded and unstable. God doesn’t answer this kind of person’s prayers.
Father, I pray for all of us who are going through trials of various kinds today. Grant us an enduring spirit that can persevere under times of pressure. Give us your wisdom - an ability to see life from your eternal perspective. We place our trust in you, knowing that you love us and are working all things together for our ultimate benefit because we are called according to your purpose. Amen.